There’s been a shift in early childhood education in the last few years. Children are now being encouraged to play for as long as possible during the earliest years of education. If this child-centred model of learning appeals to you, it’s becoming easier to find play-based preschools in Singapore. At One World International School (OWIS), they’ve gone a step further and coupled play-based learning with an inquiry-led approach. We asked MICHELLE DICKINSON, Head of School, for some more information about this and what the benefits are for our kids.
How does the new campus accommodate a play-based approach?
We nurture an inquiry-led, play-based learning environment with dynamic indoor and outdoor spaces. These spaces are specially designed for young children to encourage learning through discovery, exploration and play. Our new campus is located in the East Coast and dedicated to early childhood education. Here we continue to offer children our Early Years programme, underpinned by the National Curriculum of England and Wales. The programme is specifically designed for three-to-six-year-olds and our rooms are set up to encourage a ‘free-flow’ of students.
What’s the difference between play-based and inquiry-led learning?
These are two different approaches to learning that complement each other well. With the inquiry-led approach, students are encouraged to drive their own learning by posing questions, testing their ideas and exploring outcomes. This allows them to come to conclusions on their own and fosters an independent attitude to learning. A play-based approach allows students to inquire through well designed structured play. This is a particularly powerful and dynamic way of learning in the early childhood years.
These approaches also nurture our values of kindness and compassion, where children are free to be curious and courageous explorers. We put an emphasis on providing a kindness-driven learning space where our students grow into globally-minded citizens who embrace acceptance and diversity.
How do the two approaches work together?
The complementary mix of inquiry and play motivates children to learn through exploring their individual interests and passions. It develops each child’s all-round education, including social skills, emotional resilience and academic concepts and understanding. Our students have the chance to practise real-world skills like conversation, conflict resolution and teamwork in a safe and secure environment; this enables them to engage in the inquiry-led approach as they become confident at asking questions and exploring possible answers and outcomes. This self-directed discovery and curiosity builds motivation and develops student-led enquiry and life-long learning.
How do these approaches benefit my child?
Research consistently backs up the positive emotional and educational outcomes resulting from a play-based learning programme. At OWIS, your child will acquire real-life social skills, develop hand-eye coordination and motor skills, and build body strength. We provide a safe place where, through self-esteem and confidence, students learn to take measured risks to reach their full potential.
If you’re hoping to enrol your child in the IB, these skills lay the foundation for the Primary Years Programme – the Early Years of the IB – which seek to develop the child as an inquirer both inside and outside the classroom. The Early Years programme builds a strong foundation of learning for your child that will benefit them wherever they go to school.
If you’re looking for a play-based preschool in Singapore, visit the new OWIS Mountbatten Campus to see the benefits of this approach in action. Schedule in a time today.
One World International School
Block G, 231 Mountbatten Road
6914 6700 | owis.org
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